View Full Version : Daughter wants to be a photo journalist

Pages : [1] 2 3

11-25-2010, 10:08 PM
My daughter wants to be a photo journalist and one of her High School classes has assigned her with doing a report on the career of her choice.

The problem is that she is ill prepared and the assignment is due the first of December. Are there any pro shooters that could give her some information for her paper? I will turn this post over to her so that she can fill in what it is that she needs.

I need Nature of The Work. Including:
An explanation of what the occupation consists of.

What is needed to become a photographer?
What sort of background is needed?

See education.

The earning part is simple.
what is the estimated job outlook and earnings expected to make in this field.
The starting, median and highest earnings.

I plan on doing mainly band photography, for magazines such as AP(Alternative Press) magazine.

This is still his daughter. I'm extremely desperate for this information.

David William White
11-25-2010, 11:16 PM
This is for 'up here', but I suppose is rather universal: http://npac.ca/?p=556

This is from our News Photographers Association of Canada. Read this article, find your equivalent association in the US, check out the college courses close to you. Hopefully this is of some help.

11-25-2010, 11:25 PM
I'm not a photojournalist - but if I were you I might try looking in my local paper for somebody who is a photojournalist or google it and find some names. They might have personal websites with email information. Find at least ten that you could email and one or two will probably be availlable to respond. If you want to guarantee success email another ten. Photojournalists are probably really busy people so I'm sure it would be a numbers game to get the information you need quickly. In the mean time there might be somebody here that can help you also. I don't know if there is or not. I don't think you should wait for a response just on here though. Time is not on your side. You need to do everything you can to get the information you need. Hope this helps.

11-26-2010, 06:18 AM
contact the asmp ( asmp.org )
they will have some of the information
that she is looking for.

good luck !

Removed Account2
11-26-2010, 06:41 AM

An endangered species! Today its video and youtube thats the name of the game.

On Haiti when the earthquake hit, the newspapers and the networks alarmed the journalists on site :

They did NOT want photograps! They wanted video. And photograpers on site (there very very few of them initially) was instructed not to take pictures, but use their cameras, including their SLRs as videocameras, even if the video quality was below par.

Why? Because those who got the first video out could sell it to TV networks, and the pictures required to illustrate the video on Youtube could be gravbbed from the film itself.

Commenting on this a veteran photojournalist said that in just a few years there would be no photograpers, no photojournalists, but a buch of kids making video for Youtube ands selling it cheap to the networks....

If it was my daughter, I'd steer her in another direction!

11-26-2010, 07:03 AM
Commenting on this a veteran photojournalist said that in just a few years there would be no photograpers, no photojournalists, but a buch of kids making video for Youtube ands selling it cheap to the networks....

If it was my daughter, I'd steer her in another direction!

Well, it was also said that analog photography was dead ;)

Itīs probably going to be much harder being a photojournalist nowadays, but if thats the chosen path at least in some countries thereīs still prizes etc. to be won for "best news photograph of the year" or something similar..

Go for it!

Removed Account2
11-26-2010, 07:13 AM
Analog photograpy IS dead. Because the photoshops are dead.

In most of the world its now impossible to buy film, save for a few big cities where one occasionally can find a hangout for nitwits like us!

I got a telephone from a friend who know my dark secret. He'd come across a camera, Canon EOS IX7. Asked if there was film for it.
"Yes, its called APS". "Could not find anyone selling film (for it) in the city's biggest mall, noone"
"bring the camera to me, I'll have a look" (and I'll take it off your hands for nothing!) <whistle>

Didn't you all notice, Kodak invested X millions in China, setting up film production lines, probably thinking they could live well from selling old technology to the "backward masses of China". After two years they sold off theire shares with hughe losses and pulled out, the chinese buy digital, and someone collects their thrown-out old fashioned film cameras dang cheap, turrns around and sell them with i hughe profit to us!

Christopher Walrath
11-26-2010, 07:42 AM
Back on topic, sort of.

No matter career you ultimately settle upon, you will need a good work ethic, a drive to get things done and not wait until the last minute and risk not being able to complete your work. (Hint,hint). And the best way to do that, as with anything, is practice. And I think your schoolwork would be the perfect opportunity.

Get crackin' on those books and stop putting off assignments. Being cramped for time has a tendency of producing shoddy work. Get crackin' now and it will be easier later. Good luck.

11-26-2010, 07:50 AM
I'm not sure it's a completely dead profession, but it is one in transition. Traditional print media have far fewer pages these days, so there are fewer assignments. That said, people will be getting their news online and the photojournalist is going to have to understand how to create visual stories that are interactive. Look to what Ed Kashi is doing as a good model or Briam Storm of Media Storm to see the future of the profession. As for school, there are a number of roads to take in this regard... a photo school, journalism major, even a broad based liberal arts education can get you there. In other words, I don't think there's one track (like becoming a lawyer or a doctor, say) in getting your education for journalism. Sometimes the best journalists have expertise and education in one area, but are good writers and photographers on that subject.

It's a very difficult field to get started in... you have to master your craft, you have to be interested in making good pictures of whatever the assignment is, and you have to show a certain commitment and be persistent about it.

Andrew Horodysky
11-26-2010, 08:11 AM
The University of Missouri's School of Journalism is one of the top programs in the country for the field -- they have a photojournalism concentration, which has consistently produced many practitioners servicing the hard news and editorial arena. See what information they have to offer: http://www.missouri.edu/index.php

I also agree with contacting the ASMP, and the suggestion of locating the photo editor of your nearest city paper for a "closer to home" perspective. Suzanne is right in suggesting that there is more than one way to enter this field; many (and I would venture to say most, even) are not trained formally, but come to the field from different disciplines and interests.

11-26-2010, 09:52 AM
often times in the smaller newspapers the reporters
are the ones taking the photographs for their stories.
it isn't uncommon for the papers to get rid of the photography staff
and give the p/s camera to the writer, after all s/he knows what sort
of photographs / images can best illustrate what s/he is writing.

often times, like with anything in the arts, visual media &C it isn't necessarily
the education you have from a school but your portfolio. there is no accreditation
for freelance photographers in any of the areas - commercial / advertising, portraiture, or editorial work or ..
it's all what the person has in their book / portfolio. this isn't really something new ...
i worked with a portrait photographer for about a year after graduating from a college ... this was in the 1980s and she was trained in the great depression.
when we talked about education &C, she kind of laughed, and took me to "the wall of portraits"
and said something like " see these, this is what people care about, not what school you went to " ...

i am not really sure how alternative music magazines hire and use their staff,
but i am guessing there are a lot of people wearing a few different hats,
and the more skills someone has ( writing, schmoozing, and a good eye )
which include " new media " like DV &C ... the better off someone will be.

even in the world of commercial photography ..
clients want the disk burned and handed to them before the set
is even torn down ( sometimes ) and other times they want
the whole thing shot in DV for web content, and still images cherry picked
from the stream. i don't see news media being much different ...
might as well be on top of the heap with experience in everything ..

11-26-2010, 10:19 AM
In this world of iReporters, where CNN posts "courtesy of youtube" videos on national cable television it is a new world for sure. There are still journalists but the job, like many others, has evolved. That doesn't sound like the topic at hand for your daughter but if she has to do another essay on it, the evolution of photojournalism could be quite an interesting topic.

11-26-2010, 10:47 AM
My suggestion is to call a local news paper or two and explain to the receptionist what you are looking for. Often times business will do anything they can to help students looking for information. Perhaps, if you call a small news paper, you may even get to talk to the chief or staff photographers directly.

In addition to that and concerning their wages, a sensitive subject, you can go to US department of labor website and search.

There is a link to Bureau of Labor Statistics. From there, there is a link to "Occupational Outlook Handbook"
You can search of "photographer"
There is everything you asked for in there

Oh, what the heck... here's a direct link:

While this information may not be specific to journalism, little further work will get you there

Your assignment has more to do with just writing about the subject - that is, a skill to look for information yourself is part of your assignment. This will get you there if you spend an hour or two looking.

Colin Corneau
11-26-2010, 11:44 AM
I work for a midsize daily. I would say to anyone to follow their passion, but with one proviso to your daughter:

Do not expect to work for a newspaper. They are (mostly) run by capricious, money-grubbing short-sighted accountants who have ruined the long-term viability of the business. There is nothing but cutbacks ahead for newspapers...don't waste your time. Sorry to sound like a downer, but no enterprise with decades of plodding, behind the curve, poor decision making can expect much better.

However, that said there is no rule that says newspapers have a monopoly on the production and distribution of photojournalism. There are plenty of people and organizations getting it done. Photojournalism is telling stories -- there are a hundred different ways to tell a story...nowadays, it's more up to you to make that decision.

Film making, exhibitions, self published books, photographic collectives, freelancing to media outlets...the list goes on.

Two examples of this are some collectives newly started in Canada...Boreal Collective and Rogue Collective. Google them (Boreal is on Facebook too) as well as a great example of a guy making his own way in photojournalism, Louie Palu. He's newly back from Afghanistan, where he's spent a few years with troops. He's had covers of Newsweek, spreads in national newspapers, exhibitions, looking to do his own film from footage gathered in the field, etc etc.

Money wise, well...you won't get rich. By any means. Never say never, but it's something you have a passion for. I can also echo the suggestions to contact working professionals in the field in your area.

Christopher Walrath
11-26-2010, 12:27 PM
Yeah, the real dough can be in a stock photograph business on the side.

11-26-2010, 12:48 PM
I truly appreciate all of these! You all have really good ideas and I'm extremely grateful for all your replies. I'm sure I will definitely find some good things with the ASMP. Again, thank you for all of your help!

11-26-2010, 01:18 PM
I have tried repeatedly to advise, guide and direct her in her interest but it is not easy to get a child to listen. She is a passionate child that spends a lot of time on fan sites writing stories. When she expressed an interest in photography I gave her a film camera to learn on and showed her how she could combine her passion for writing and photography. When she came to me about this project and I found out when it was due I explained that this should have been an easy assignment if she really was passionate about photography. What I told her was that your focus is directed by your interest. She should have already had the information at hand because of her interest. I appreciate all of the responses that we have gotten in such a short period of time and fear not, all names will be changed to protect cognizant:D

11-26-2010, 01:30 PM
Get a reasonable degree (4 year) in the process of being a photographer. Make sure she picks up some business classes. Then follow her heart, and be the best she can be. (korny,,, but everyone I've met that was doing well in their work was really passionate and focused). Whether it was IT security, networking, AV...

When she discovers that a small number of photgraphers, (and chef's for that matter) actually make a reasonable income, she can add to the academics and move into a new field. What percentage of 40 year olds are actually doing what they were trained to do int he first place? Not a big percentage.

11-26-2010, 01:34 PM
Try the National Press Photographers Association and the Society of Professional Journalist as well as the American Society of Media Photographers

I am a double major in art and journalism and the photography editor for my student newspaper. It is a lot of work but also a lot of fun. The others are right on working for a newspaper. I think working for a magazine would be more satisfying. One may be able to still use film in some magazines but for newspapers its unfortunately out of the question.

Make sure that you take some journalism classes and not just photography
classes. They will help a lot with understanding news and make you more employable.

http://www.nppa.org/ , http://www.spj.org/

Also here is a great book: http://www.amazon.com/Photojournalism-Sixth-Professionals-Kenneth-Kobre/dp/075068593X/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_1


11-26-2010, 01:45 PM
I would contact a local newspaper and arrange an interview.

Education required is a whopping ZERO. In fact, many wire services will prefer you to have no education, as they can mold you their own way.

You get the job by knowing somebody, and you keep it by being reliable. Being good is helpful, but not necessary.

You don't make much in the grand scheme of things, but it can be a living if you get in with the right employer and stick with them permanently. Finding permanent employment/benefits is the tough part. Getting work as a stringer (sans benefits) is more likely, especially nowadays.

Every photojournalist I have talked (a lot) to says that if you are going to go to school, definitely do not study photography. It is a useless degree. Knowing about computer networking and other technology is far more important, they say. They also say LEARN VIDEO. Stills are on their way out, multimedia is on the way in, and the more you can do, the better.

Your desired job is far different than an all-around photojournalist for a wire service or proper newspaper, however. Shooting music pix for a free rag simply will not earn you a living. It can be fun, but I would not go so far as to call it a career. I would use something more general for your topic. You will have more to write about, and it actually can be considered a realistic career choice, IMHO.

Good luck!

BTW, you will need to shoot digital. Film is of no use to a working photojournalist or his/her editors...but just because you shoot digital does not mean that you need to think or work any less hard than when shooting film. Don't fall into the rut of letting the fact that you are shooting digital drastically change the way you shoot.